Dismantling high-flying opponents back-to-back in the final stages of a Grand Slam is no mean feat, even for a great TSTIME. Still, Novak Djokovic is not getting carried away after backing up his masterful fourth-round Australian Open show against Alex de Minaur by cruising past World No. 6 Andrey Rublev in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
“I can’t really say this is as confident as I’ve ever felt because I’ve had some incredible seasons,” Djokovic said after racing to a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 quarterfinal win against Rublev. “[Some incredible] years here at the Australian Open, some matches that are really unforgettable for me. [It is] hard to compare because I’ve been lucky enough to have really great success at the Australian Open.
“But [the] last two games, playing against two guys who are really good players, players in form, to beat them dominantly in three sets… That’s definitely something I want at the moment. Something that sends a message to all my opponents who are still in the draw.”
You May Also Like: Relentless Djokovic Beats Rublev to Reach Australian Open Semifinals
Djokovic is 10-0 for 2023 after beating Rublev. Despite being hampered by a left hamstring problem, the 35-year-old has made relatively seamless progress into the last four in Melbourne, where he can match Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam crowns and return to number one. 1 in the world by taking home the trophy. . He is now in a familiar position at the opening major of the season.
“Of course, with this kind of game, self-confidence rises… I feel good on the field, getting better as the tournament progresses,” said Djokovic. “I’ve been in this situation so many times in my life, in my career, [and] never lost a semifinal at the Australian Open. Hopefully that stays the same.
“So far I have a perfect score on Australian hard courts [this year], in Adelaide and here. I’m playing better and better. I couldn’t wish for a better situation to be in right now.”
Next up for Djokovic as he pursues a record-extending 10th Australian Open title is Tommy Paul, now ranked No. 19 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. It will be a first tour-level meeting between the two, but Djokovic expects no surprises when he takes on the American at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
“I know how he plays,” Djokovic said of 25-year-old Paul. “I never met him on the field, [but] it’s been around for a few years. I’ve seen him play a lot, especially in this tournament. He probably plays the tennis of his life.
“[He is a] very explosive, very dynamic player. Fast, very solid backhand. Likes to intervene, dictating the point with the forehand. Great, great service move… [A] very complete player. He has a coach [Brad Stine] that has existed for years with some top players.
“[It is a] first [Grand Slam] semi-final for him, so obviously he doesn’t have much to lose. I’m sure he will go out and play his best tennis.”
Paul’s compatriots Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton also reached the last eight in Melbourne, marking the first time three American men have reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since 2005. There will be 10 Americans in the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP. Monday rankings and 92-fold tour-level title list Djokovic welcomed the emergence of a strong squad of players from a country set to host 11 tour-level events in 2023.
“To look, [the United States] is an extremely important country for our sport,” said the 92-time Tour-level title. “We have some of the biggest tournaments in the world played there, on the North American continent. I think it’s important that we see successful American men and women doing well.
“Historically, America has always produced top players. Now you have a list of maybe four or five young players knocking on the door of the top tier. I think that’s good for our sport. We want to see young, successful players coming from a big country [the United States]naturally.”